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The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses


David S. Evans


University of Chicago Law School; University College London; Global Economics Group

Richard Schmalensee


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

January 30, 2013

Roger Blair and Daniel Sokol, eds., Oxford Handbook on International Antitrust Economics, Oxford University Press, Forthcoming
University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 623

Abstract:     
This Chapter provides a survey of the economics literature on multi-sided platforms with particular focus on competition policy issues, including market definition, mergers, monopolization, and coordinated behavior. It provides a survey of the general industrial organization theory of multi-sided platforms and then considers various issues concerning the application of antitrust analysis to multi-sided platform businesses. It shows that it is not possible to know whether standard economic models, often relied on for antitrust analysis, apply to multi-sided platforms without explicitly considering the existence of multiple customer groups with interdependent demand. It summarizes many theoretical and empirical papers that demonstrate that a number of results for single-sided firms, which are the focus of much of the applied antitrust economics literature, do not apply directly to multi-sided platforms.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 73

Keywords: multisided platforms, two sided markets, antitrust, competition policy, market definition, network industries, market definition, market power, exclusionary practices, monopolization, coordinated behavior, critical mass

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Date posted: December 5, 2012 ; Last revised: February 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Evans, David S. and Schmalensee, Richard, The Antitrust Analysis of Multi-Sided Platform Businesses (January 30, 2013). Roger Blair and Daniel Sokol, eds., Oxford Handbook on International Antitrust Economics, Oxford University Press, Forthcoming; University of Chicago Institute for Law & Economics Olin Research Paper No. 623. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2185373

Contact Information

David S. Evans (Contact Author)
University of Chicago Law School ( email )
1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
University College London ( email )
London WC1E OEG
United Kingdom
Global Economics Group ( email )
1400 S. Dearborn, Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60603
United States
Richard Schmalensee
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )
Room E62-525
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-2957 (Phone)
617-258-6617 (Fax)
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